From my Amelia Song Series.
"Raposilioccisn, it's a planet," The Doctor gesticulated wildly; spinning on the spot as he walked with the Ponds following close on his heels. "the leaves on all of the trees are a bright yellow and the grass, purple –well, it's purple forty-percent of the year, the other sixty-percent there is no grass, because they don't really have seasons like Earth seasons, it's more like, for four months it's beautiful and lush and glorious and the other eight months the whole place is a desert." He scratched his cheek. "Though it's not eight months because the Raposilioccisn year has fourteen months; each of which consists of sixty days – hell of a long wait for a birthday..."
"Doctor," Amy tried to cut in, but the Doctor charged on ahead, all of them making their way towards the Tardis, that he'd parked on the opposite side of the street, to their house.
"Although, the Raposilioccosalians don't really celebrate birthdays, they've got what you'd call an 'Ancestral Day' where everyone in the entire family celebrates the fact they were even born at all and wow, I tell you, that's a party you'll never forget."
"Doctor!" Amy insisted.
He continued rambling. "And they make this really strong punch that knocks even the strongest Timelords on their backs, not that I've tried it..."
"DOCTOR!" Both Amy and Rory shouted in unison and the Doctor stopped, abruptly. He turned around, grinning at them both as he clapped his hands together.
"What is it, Ponds?"
"I thought you weren't taking us on any more adventures." Amy answered quietly, her voice breaking ever so slightly. "It's been three years." She breathed and both of his hearts wished that he could have kept that promise, if only to avoid the heartbreak in her eyes.
The Doctor swallowed, rubbing his hands together as he thought of the appropriate response and knowing he didn't have one; knowing that he hadn't actually come for them at all. He'd meant to leave them in peace, to never come back. But he was so lonely and tired and tired of being alone that he'd asked her to take him anywhere. Anywhere that would make him smile. And she'd headed off in one direction, before she'd shot off in another and landed herself just shy of the little blue house with the shiny red car out the front.
He'd stood on the doorstep, staring up at the Tardis blue door and smiling a heartbroken smile at how loved their little home seemed. They'd almost forgotten him. It had taken three years but there was a vegetable garden and bills in the mail-box and the registration sticker on Rory's little red car, was up-to-date. All normal things. He knew he shouldn't have knocked.
But the door had flown open and he'd cursed himself for forgetting to take the brakes off, because the magnificent Amelia Pond would never forget and the sound of the Tardis was the most glorious sound in the universe, how could he blame her?
The door had swung open so quickly, catching her fiery-red hair in a gust of breeze and when he thought her arms would have wrapped themselves around his neck, she'd broken his heart by staying stock-still where she was.
Rory had silently appeared behind Amy and he'd started rambling about the grass on Raposilioccisn even though he iknew/i they would be far more curious about why he'd just shown up.
But the door was weatherworn and the car had been driven and Amy didn't fly through the air as though she'd felt the time they were apart, to have been wasted days. And he'd started to wonder why the Tardis had taken him there.
"I asked her to take me somewhere nice." He shrugged. "You know how she is."
"She takes you where you need to be?" Rory asked and the Doctor nodded.
"But you don't need to be here." Amy responded and for a moment, the Doctor was affronted, before he realized there was no malice in Amy's eyes, just simple truth. He didn't need to be there. His Ponds were safe and happy and they'd learned to carry on. They were on to bigger and better adventures, bigger than he could have ever given them.
Rory hadn't grown a pony-tail, but Amy's cheeks were a little plumper and their eyes were aglow with domestic contentment. He hadn't rightly expected that.
A crack of thunder that shot light through the windows of the Tardis, caused all three of them to jump clear out of their skin. The Doctor barely hesitated; bolting towards the doors and swinging them open in a panic, fearing for his precious girl and terrified that something inside of her had gone horribly wrong. Amy and Rory stood stock-still for a moment, before sprinting after him and tumbling through the doors together, though coming to a complete stop before they crashed into the Doctor's frozen form.
Before them, the entirety of the Tardis had changed its form. The floor was cushioned under their feet and her platforms were made of plastic. The rails were padded with a soft downy-foam and around the console, there were padded bumper bars. It was like the whole console room had turned into a bouncy castle and in the centre, River Song stood slapping at her Vortex Manipulator, with her unruly hair a little teased from whatever journey she'd just made. Her jacket was rumpled and her jeans were dusty and he could see the faintest hint of faded marker lines, on the back of her hands.
"River?" The Doctor questioned and she looked up, suddenly, her eyes wide with surprise.
"I don't know what went wrong," She gasped, staring at him. "I meant to find my..." He saw her swallow when she noticed both Amy and Rory behind him. "How did I get here? When is here?"
The Doctor slowly made his way towards her, not entirely sure which River he was facing – though he had an idea. He'd seen her a few times since he'd seen Rory and Amy last. He'd made a few discoveries and a few revelations had hit him in the face. They'd come somewhat full-circle and had arrived at a place where they were travelling almost side by side. But the sudden and impromptu appearances still shook him to the core. He wasn't ever entirely certain if the River he knew was standing before him or if it was the River that had just walked away from the Sisters of the Infinite Schism, or if she was the River that had already signed up to lead the expedition to the largest Library in the universe. She was the River from America, but how close was that River to the very end?
"We know you're our daughter," Amy smiled at her and River looked so very relieved. "But when are we for you?" She asked, her eyes drifting down to the little blue book in River's hands. It looked a little worn, one corner a little tattered, but its age was barely a few years. If he could touch it, he'd know for certain, but on sight alone he assumed perhaps she was his River, still, or almost.
"Um," River bit her lip, looking for a moment between her parents and the Doctor, who still stood a few feet from her, his arm outstretched to touch her, though he hadn't done it yet. He was waiting to be sure she wanted it. He always did that and sometimes she wished that she could appear just once and have his arms envelope her, without hesitation. "Do you know Nicholas?"
Rory laughed throatily and burst forward, wrapping his arms around River in a fatherly embrace. "He's at day-care!" He exclaimed, kissing River's hair as she hugged him back, her smile broad and again, relieved.
"I was terrified I'd missed the mark. I was aiming for your house and then I landed in the Tardis."
"Fair confusion," The Doctor smirked, tucking his hands in his pockets as he shuffled his feet, head bowed sheepishly as Rory stepped back slightly, just to let Amy into the hug. "The Tardis just brought me here, the house is right outside, see." He pointed to the doorway, where beyond she could see the street her parents lived on, and her father's car.
"The Tardis brought you here? Why?"
"I don't really know." The Doctor shrugged. "I asked her to take me somewhere and that somewhere, was here." He studied Amy and Rory intently. "It's been a week for me and three years for you, great Ponds; and who is Nicholas?"
Amy grinned, wrapping an arm around Rory's waist and gripping River's hand down by her side. "He's our son," She beamed as the Doctor's face broke into a wide smile, marvelling at the closeness between River and her parents. "He's almost two years old."
"You have a little brother, River?" The Doctor grinned and she blushed. "How are you going to explain this one to him when he's older, Ponds?"
"Just as it is, Doctor." Rory nodded, matter-of-factly and the Doctor smirked, pride written all over his face, for his indomitable Ponds.
"As you well should. Now, my Tardis, any ideas?"
They all looked around at the room they were in, poking their feet into the soft cushion-y floor and all of them as confused as one another, except River, the Doctor noticed, who seemed anxious. She was ringing her fingers and nibbling at her bottom lip, looking around at everything and nothing and especially not him. The Doctor bounced up and down, feeling the spongy floor catch him. He noticed Amy leaning against a railing and Rory testing how fast he could impact the console without it hurting.
It was like the whole of the Tardis had been baby-proofed and he wondered if it meant the Tardis knew something about young Nicholas that they all clearly, did not.
"Are you planning to bring Nicholas along, Ponds?" He asked and Rory and Amy looked up, staring at each other before looking back to him.
"Honestly, no." Amy said firmly. "Look, Doctor," She dashed towards him, seeing how his hearts constricted at the thought of them wanting him to leave them behind again. She stepped into his space, blocking out his view of Rory and River, standing by each other on the stairs. "I loved travelling with you in this Tardis. I loved the days we had, the marvellous days with you and me, with Rory and with River. They're precious days, to me, Doctor and I'll never forget them. But we need to think of Nicholas now. We've already lost one child to time," She glanced over her shoulder at River, who cast her eyes away. "And though I wouldn't give up a single moment that I have with her now, we can't come with you. We can't risk losing Nicholas as well."
"But the Tardis must know that you'll come, she's done all this. Who else could she be protecting? What other child?"
There was silence throughout the Tardis, all of them hanging on the Doctor's question with confusion, looking from one to the other. Amy's expression stood firmly; the padding wasn't for Nicholas and it wasn't ever going to be, so why? Why had the Tardis done this? Why now, why here? A million questions flew through his head at once, all of which distracted him from River.
As they'd all pondered the question put forward by the Doctor, River had made her way quietly to the console. She'd pressed her palm to the soft surface, feeling the gentle hum of the old girl beneath her fingertips. She smiled, feeling the purr of her great engines in response to her touch. She reached out with her mind, letting the warmth of her glow reach her great mother as all the hearts within them beat together in thanks.
"River," The Doctor's voice startled her and River jumped back from the console, clutching her fisted hand to her chest, as though she'd been burned. "What is it?"
Her eyes flicked from the Doctor, to Amy and to Rory, then back to the Doctor again and she smiled nervously, her curls bobbing as she shook her head with an anxious laugh. "It's just, I don't think that this," She gestured to the room they all stood in. "Is for Nicholas at all."
"Oh," The Doctor took a few steps towards her, until she was looking up at him and she couldn't see her parents beyond his shoulders. "Tell me, River."
"I'll show you, my love." She whispered, reaching up to cup his cheeks as she closed her eyes tight. She let that light shine through the both of them, let the glow of the Tardis and the glow of her love, wrap around his heart like a blanket as she let the smallest message through. He could hear it, like the gentle beat of drums in the distance. The feeling was warm, like sunshine and the sensation, so familiar and yet, so very foreign. The sound of two hearts, no – he gasped – four.
"River," He breathed as he fell back a step, severing the connection.
"Don't be afraid, my love."
"No," He rushed forward again, grabbing her face in his hands and kissing her soundly, deeply, before throwing his head back with a laugh. "I could never fear this, River. Oh, River Song," He barked. "Marvellous, magnificent, River Song. It is the most beautiful gift I have ever received."
River giggled softly, falling into his arms as he wrapped them around her, burying his face in her hair at the crook of her neck.
"Hold on," Amy's voice broke through the intimate moment with confusion and annoyance. "What's going on?"
"Don't you see," The Doctor spun around, his arm still wrapped around the waist of a laughing River Song, as he waved wildly with his other. "The Tardis brought me here, because she knew River would be coming here."
"And?" Rory questioned.
"And, Rory Pond, the new decor is not for little Nicholas Pond."
"It's not?" Amy screwed up her nose and the Doctor raised his chin proudly.
"Well then," Amy rolled her eyes. "What is it for?"
"My daughter." He said softly, his voice laced with pride and unbridled joy. He smirked down at River, feeling her hand tighten in his as they stood before her parents, all aglow. She let their light shine freely between herself and the Doctor, then, letting him feel the intensity of their baby daughter as she grew and moved and her tiny hearts beat a wild rhythm against her mother's. She was so tiny, but her hearts were so strong and her presence, already so very powerful.
Amy and Rory were dumbfounded. "You're pregnant?" Rory questioned and Amy snapped out of her surprise to elbow him in the arm.
"Yes, Dad," River laughed at the use of the title, still so very unused to it. "I am."